Last Saturday, at an event commemorating World Alzheimer’s Month, I heard about Person-Centred Care which was the pioneering work of Tom Kitwood in the field of dementia care. Based on what the presenter shared, I immediately felt that the elements of PPC would also be important considerations when designing a good learning experience in general.
The 5 elements, with my own take of what each one is about, are:
- Comfort – offering a sense of security and an environment of trust
- Identity – acknowledging the uniqueness of the person
- Occupation – tasks that are meaningful
- Attachment – involving the loved ones
- Inclusion – connecting with the community
Central to all these elements is love, unconditional love.
In a learner-centred learning experience, it needs to stem from an unconditional love for the learner. There needs to be a believe in the capacity and potential of the learner, and a look out for our own bias, especially when dealing with what we might consider as difficult learners. Will an impersonal delivery of content, even if when there is a clear sense of passion for the subject-matter, be ever sufficient?
With this as the foundation, we can see how the elements of comfort, identity and occupation fit in. When we embrace the learner as a person, his sense of safety (and learning can be intimidating and risky), self and what is going to resonate with him will be important factors.
The involvement of loved ones and the community might not be so immediately seen as necessary for a learner-centred lesson. Relationships are important to all of us, and should thus be considered too. Fostering supportive and meaningful engagement with loved ones and the community can definitely enrich learning.
These are my preliminary thoughts. Perhaps some might think that this is nothing earth-shattering or that is it too idealised. At the very least, I hope it would invite some great conversations around this idea.